No Bridged Adapters in VMware Workstation

Although I only support vSphere and VMware’s enterprise products, I use VMware Workstation every day. My work laptop runs Windows 10, but I maintain a couple of Linux VMs for day to day use as well. After a large Windows 10 feature update – 1709 I believe – I noticed that my Linux VMs were booting up without any networking. Their virtual adapters were simply reporting ‘link down’.

I had not changed any of the Workstation network configuration since I had installed it and always just used the defaults. For my guest VMs, I had always preferred to use ‘Bridged’ networking rather than NAT:

wsnets-1

What I found odd was that the VMnet0 connection usually associated with bridging was nowhere to be found in the ‘Virtual Network Editor’.

wsnets-2

When trying to add a new bridged network, I’d get the following error:

wsnets-3

The exact text is:

“Cannot change network to bridged: There are no un-bridged host network adapters.”

Clearly, Workstation thinks the adapters are already bridged despite there not being any listed in the virtual network editor.

After doing some searching, I discovered that I wasn’t the only person who had run into this. A thread over at the VMware Communities forum from back in 2015 offered a very simple suggestion – restore defaults.

I’m not sure why I didn’t see this option initially, but after clicking it I discovered that it does a lot more than just change a few settings back to default. It appears to go through a complete removal of all virtual networking components, including host virtual adapters and services and then re-deploys them from scratch.

wsnets-5

Keep in mind that if you created any custom NAT or host-only networks, this process will wipe them out and they’ll need to be re-created. In my case I only used the defaults so this was perfect.

Once the process was completed, I was happy to see VMnet0 back in the list with the correct bridging configuration.

wsnets-6

Although my Linux VM booted link-up this time, it couldn’t get an IP from my physical network’s DHCP server. To get online, I had to change the bridged adapter from ‘Automatic’ to my actual wired adapter in the drop-down. Since I have a VPN adapter and a disabled wireless adapter in my system it seemed to be trying to use the wrong one.

Hopefully this simple tip helps others who may run into this problem.

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